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Probate & Estate Administration

Brookfield Probate & Estate Administration Attorney

Providing Comprehensive Probate Guidance in the Greater Milwaukee Area

When a loved one passes away, you may find yourself in charge of their estate. The process of settling a person’s affairs after they die is known as probate. While the probate process in Wisconsin is relatively simple and straightforward, it can still be confusing and time-consuming. If you are responsible for a loved one’s estate, you should not have to go it alone. Our team at Krause Estate Planning & Elder Law Center is here to help you navigate the probate process from start to finish.

Call us at (608) 344-5491 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a Brookfield probate lawyer.

What Is the Probate Process in Wisconsin?

Probate is a legal process that is designed to ensure a person’s assets are distributed to their rightful heirs and beneficiaries after they die. If a person dies with a last will and testament, the probate process will also involve validating and executing the will. If a person dies without a will, the probate process will involve determining how to distribute assets according to Wisconsin’s intestacy laws.

The Wisconsin probate process is as follows:

  1. File a petition with the court: The first step in the probate process is to file a petition with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived. The petition asks the court to appoint a personal representative to administer the estate. If the decedent left a will, the will should be filed at the same time the petition is filed. The court will then set a date for a hearing on the petition.
  2. Notify all interested parties: The personal representative must notify all interested parties of the probate proceedings. This includes heirs, beneficiaries, and any creditors of the estate. The personal representative must also publish a notice in the local newspaper to let any other creditors know that the decedent has passed away.
  3. Manage the estate: The personal representative will be responsible for managing the decedent’s estate. This includes gathering and inventorying the decedent’s assets, paying the decedent’s debts, and filing the decedent’s final tax returns. The personal representative must also file an inventory of the estate with the court within 90 days of being appointed.
  4. Distribute the assets: After all of the decedent’s debts have been paid, the personal representative can distribute the assets to the beneficiaries and heirs. If the decedent left a will, the assets will be distributed according to the terms of the will. If the decedent did not leave a will, the assets will be distributed according to Wisconsin’s intestacy laws.
  5. File a closing statement: Once the estate has been fully administered, the personal representative must file a closing statement with the court. The closing statement must include a financial accounting of all transactions that occurred during the probate process and show that all of the decedent’s debts have been paid.

How Long Does Probate Take in Wisconsin?

The length of the probate process in Wisconsin will depend on the size and complexity of the estate, as well as whether any complications or disputes arise during the process. That said, the probate process typically takes about six to nine months to complete.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Wisconsin?

Not all estates have to go through probate in Wisconsin. Estates that fall below a certain threshold will not be subject to the probate process. Additionally, some assets can be transferred directly to a beneficiary without having to go through probate.

Under Wisconsin law, the following assets do not have to go through probate:

  • Assets held in a living trust
  • Jointly-owned property
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts
  • Transfer-on-death brokerage accounts
  • Life insurance policies with a named beneficiary
  • Retirement accounts with a named beneficiary

Even if an estate does not have to go through the probate process, the personal representative may still have to file certain documents with the court. An experienced probate lawyer in Brookfield can help you determine whether an estate must go through probate and how to transfer assets to beneficiaries.

What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?

Probate is a legal process that is subject to the rules and procedures of the Wisconsin court system. If you are responsible for a loved one’s estate, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork and legal jargon involved in the probate process. A probate and estate administration lawyer can help you navigate the process and ensure that you comply with all of your legal obligations.

A probate lawyer can help you with the following:

  • Filing the initial petition with the court
  • Gathering and inventorying the decedent’s assets
  • Notifying all interested parties of the probate proceedings
  • Paying the decedent’s debts
  • Filing the decedent’s final tax returns
  • Distributing the decedent’s assets to the rightful beneficiaries
  • Filing a closing statement with the court

A probate lawyer can also help you determine if an estate must go through probate and how to transfer assets outside of the probate process. This can help you save time and money. At Krause Estate Planning & Elder Law Center, we have extensive experience helping clients navigate the probate process. We can guide you through each step of the process and help you avoid any potential pitfalls that might arise along the way.

Is Probate Expensive in Wisconsin?

The cost of probate in Wisconsin will depend on the size and complexity of the estate. The larger and more complex the estate, the more expensive the probate process will be. Some of the costs that may be associated with the probate process include court fees, attorney’s fees, and personal representative’s fees.

That said, there are several ways to reduce the cost of probate in Wisconsin:

  • Plan ahead: One of the best ways to reduce the cost of probate is to plan ahead. By creating a comprehensive estate plan, you can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and avoid the probate process altogether.
  • Transfer assets outside of probate: Certain types of assets can be transferred directly to a beneficiary without having to go through probate. These assets include assets held in a living trust, jointly-owned property, payable-on-death bank accounts, transfer-on-death brokerage accounts, life insurance policies with a named beneficiary, and retirement accounts with a named beneficiary.
  • Transfer assets through simplified probate: If an estate is valued at $50,000 or less, the personal representative can transfer the assets through a simplified probate process. This process is less expensive and takes less time than a standard probate proceeding.
  • Transfer assets through summary probate: If a person passes away without a will and leaves behind an estate valued at $50,000 or less, the personal representative can transfer the assets through a summary probate process. This process is less expensive and takes less time than a standard probate proceeding.

An experienced probate lawyer in Brookfield can help you determine how to reduce the cost of probate and ensure that you comply with Wisconsin’s complex probate laws.

Why Choose Krause Estate Planning & Elder Law Center?

At Krause Estate Planning & Elder Law Center, we understand how difficult it can be to lose a loved one. We also understand how overwhelming the probate process can be. We are here to help you navigate the process from start to finish. Our team can guide you through each step of the process and help you make informed decisions about your loved one’s estate.

When you choose our Brookfield probate attorneys, you can expect the following:

  • Personalized attention and compassionate care
  • Open and honest communication throughout the process
  • Comprehensive legal services
  • Knowledgeable guidance and aggressive advocacy
  • Peace of mind knowing that your loved one’s estate is in good hands

Whether you need help filing the initial petition with the court or you need guidance on how to distribute assets to beneficiaries, we can help. Our team has extensive experience handling all types of probate matters, including complex and contested matters. We can help you navigate the probate process and protect your loved one’s interests every step of the way.

Schedule a Consultation with Our Brookfield Probate Attorneys Today

If you are responsible for a loved one’s estate, you should not have to go it alone. Our team at Krause Estate Planning & Elder Law Center is here to help you navigate the process from start to finish. We can help you file the initial petition with the court, gather and inventory the decedent’s assets, and distribute the assets to the rightful beneficiaries. Our probate lawyers in Brookfield can also help you reduce the cost of probate and ensure that you comply with all of your legal obligations. You can trust us to provide the compassionate care and aggressive advocacy you need and deserve.

Call us at (608) 344-5491 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a Brookfield probate lawyer.

  • He was able to guide us through this process with a thorough understanding of what decisions we needed to make to create clear directives for our family to follow if needed.

    Victoria
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    Silvia
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